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The Cross

22 Apr

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

 

Within the past few months, we had noticed some construction going on not too far from our house. There is a Methodist church quite near us, and their property extends right up to a “loop” around Orlando.

For the longest time, we couldn’t figure out just what was going up – the structure was pretty far away from the church itself, while still on their property. We thought it might be a “staging area” for some road construction.

 

 

And then, one day – it was just….there. And what to our amazed eyes did we see, but an enormous CROSS – right there by the busy highway! It is white, and looks to be made of metal. Fred says that it is probably 80′ or 90′ tall.

 

 

As we drive toward Disney (or back to our house from Disney) that cross is so large it just “pops” up in our line of sight! It’s amazing! Especially if the sky is the brilliant, bright blue that it can be.

 

 

And because it’s on the church’s property, no one can complain about it. Well, they might complain, but that’s all that will happen. The church owns the property, after all, and they can pretty much do what they want with it.

When we told some friends about it, someone suggested that it might also double as a cell-tower. Come to find out – that is exactly what it is! So the Methodist church not only gets to tell the world rushing by about the cross of Christ – but they get paid to do it! We are sure the people who need the cell-tower pay the church for use of the tower. That’s a win-win situation if I’ve ever heard of one!

So, what do you think of it? We think it’s amazing and wonderful, and we are so glad the church wanted to proclaim to the world about the Cross of Christ. It’s beautiful!

 

 

A Judgement Call~Part 2

15 Apr

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

 

On to my time as a judge. As I said in part 1, our church includes a school/academy. It started out with a daycare and one kindergarten class.   It now goes through 8th grade, some with multiple classes for each grade. So some of the children who started in the daycare have been with this school their entire school experience.

 

 

Regency Christian Academy Knights

 

The school holds several “contests” each year. One being the science fair, that is coming up in a few weeks. My husband, Fred, is to be one of the judges for that.

 

 

The other is the speech contest.

This is where my judgment call comes in. The contest is sponsored by the Modern Woodman Fraternal Financial company.

 

 

They sponsor many child/youth activities throughout the United States, including the speech contest each year. According to their website:   Available to schools of all kinds, this program provides valuable public speaking experience. Students in grades five through eight are eligible to compete at the local level. Modern Woodmen provides materials needed to run this contest, including the topic, judging guidelines and participation awards. The contest runs year-round.

They pick a subject for each year’s contestants. For instance, this year (2018) the topic was “Inventions that have improved the quality of life.” According to information provided:

Many inventions have made human life much easier. It is difficult to consider a life without the inventions that we are so accustomed to using. This year’s contest asks students to imagine a world without the invention of their choosing and to speak about how this invention has improved the quality of life.

There were three judges, myself being one, and 10 contestants.

 

 

They were all in the sixth grade. Those 10 were chosen as finalists by their classmates from the two sixth grade classes. During the speeches, the fifth graders were invited to sit in, to see what they might be participating in next year. It was a learning experience all around.

The students were all quite nervous, as none of them had done any public speaking before. The speech teacher told Fred and me later that she had encouraged each of them to practice their speeches, but didn’t think they did. I’m sure, if they had done so – even in front of the mirror – it would have added confidence to them.

In any case, it was fun to see what topics and titles they had come up with within the contest’s topic. They had such things as:

P.C. for Me! (Computers)

Microwaves (self explanatory)

Keepin’ it Cool (refrigeration)

No Wash Boards, Please! (Automatic washers and dryers)

Cruising in Style (the automobile)

The Incredible Pencil (self explanatory)

and last but DEFINITELY not least:

Bottoms up! (toilet paper)

They were a joy to watch and listen to. Most had done a great deal of research – did you know there are websites for toilet paper?

The only disappointment I had was that all of the contestants just read from their notes – none were “live” and animated. I’ve judged this speech contest for several years, and some were completely memorized and spoken from the heart. That makes the speech much more authentic. Perhaps that is something I’ll suggest for next year.

Anyway, it was a fun experience. I tend to “grade” more leniently that the other judges, but we all came up with the same ones for first, second, and third places.

This year’s winners

 

 

However…I’m glad it is over for this year!

 

~~~~~~~~~~The End ~~~~~~~~~~

 

A Judgement Call

8 Apr

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

 

Recently, I was a judge….you know…Judge Judy. You see, our church includes a school/academy. It started out with a daycare and one kindergarten class. It now goes through 8th grade, some with multiple classes for each grade. So some of the children who started in the daycare have been with the school their entire school experience.

 

Regency Christian Academy Knights

 

I was the church secretary for nearly nine years. Fairly early on in my secretarial position, one of the kindergarten teachers told her class, as they were marching down the hallway, to have their “hands behind their back, and bubbles in their mouth.” That way, they couldn’t touch each other or talk. It was quite nice to have this quiet parade of children walking in front of our offices.

But soon, I found I would enjoy standing in my office doorway to watch them pass by, and “pop” their bubbles. I made the “popping” sound myself, but the children thought they had done it. Many smiling faces followed on down the hallway. And even today, if I see some of those children – now in high school – they will approach me with “bubbles” in their mouth! They still remember the “bubble lady” who popped their bubbles!

The school has a really good reputation. Some years ago, there was a man who came to enroll his child in our school. He and his family were fairly new to the area, but he made the statement to me that “we may not worship at this church, but I definitely want my children to go to this school!” That has stayed with me, all these years. The school does its best to BE the best it can be for the students. They get all the usual subjects to study, but the classes are smaller, and the students have more of the teacher’s attention. I’ve been a proctor for some of the testing, and the students usually score quite well on their standardized tests. Our school is not like the public schools where, I’ve been told by other teachers, that they have to “teach the test” rather than teaching the subject. That encourages me.

There are several “contests” that the school holds. Every year they have a science fair. Fred is usually asked to be one of the judges for the science fair, and he’s happy to do just that. He enjoys what the children come up with to show off their “scientific” skills. He’s also a fair judge, which makes him a good candidate for judging. He said that he actually started judging science fairs back in the 1980’s, probably when we were in Heidelberg, Germany. He did some regional judging when we lived in Virginia. And he’s been asked to judge the science fairs at our church school for several years now, and enjoys doing that. He will be judging our school’s science fair in the near future.

Here are some pictures from a recent science fair:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fred and the other judges hearing about a project

 

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

Butterflies and Flowers

1 Apr

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

 

New Mexico state flag – Credit Google Search

It was a grand place to live and grow up in. I loved the mountains – more now that I am no longer around them to enjoy.

 

ountains outside Albuquerque – Credit Google Search

 

I loved the dry climate – especially more now that I live in a humid environment. I loved the Indian/Mexican culture – I still do, with the sand paintings I have from my Aunt Jessie and the turquoise and silver jewelry I inherited from her.

 

 

There just isn’t much that I remember about Albuquerque and New Mexico in particular, that I don’t love. I mentioned once, a few years ago to our daughter, that it was dirty, dusty, and scrubby, but it was home. And I loved it! We had a cute, three-bedroom, one-bath house.

 

 

I remember Mom and Dad saying they needed to add another bathroom on – just because I took so long getting ready each morning. But they never did. They did add a covered patio that joined the house to the detached garage, which was nice. We had many a meal on that patio, in the evenings, especially, but sometimes breakfast. It was great.

When our neighbors added a concrete-block fence between their back yard and ours, my Mother planted many rose bushes and iris flowers along our side of the fence.

 

Fred and me by the roses

 

There was also a small, long stretch of dirt between the house the driveway, where she planted iris plants. I remember taking the petals from those iris plants and “pressing” them between book or Bible pages. When they flattened and dried, they were almost transparent – I could read through them! It was amazing.

Perhaps that’s why I came to love the iris flower so much. When I see them, it reminds me of “home” and how much I enjoyed those flowers blooming. I’ve never tried my hand at growing them, however. I think I’ve mentioned before that I have a “black thumb” rather than a “green thumb” when it comes to growing anything! When we were in Heidelberg, Germany, someone had planted a bunch of iris bulbs at the end of one of the housing buildings. Every Spring, they just sprouted up – mostly lilac color, some white, some dark purple. My favorite is the dark purple, so I suppose that is the most prominent color of iris Mom had planted.

When our youngest daughter, Janet, was giving birth to her twins, I was able to attend to her in the hospital. I remember one day going by the gift shop in the hospital and stopping in my tracks! Hanging there was a beautiful, stain-glass window hanging that had butterflies and iris blossoms on it! It was one of those “I just MUST have that” moments, and so I purchased it and had it shipped home to Florida. It hangs in our “office” window where I can see it just any time I want.

I think it’s lovely. What do you think?

 

 

 

A 1960 California Family Christmas

25 Mar

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

I know….I know….Christmas was either three months ago – or nine months to come. So I am either WAY late or WAY early with this post! However, in going through my pictures recently – something I really enjoy doing – I came upon the Christmas before Fred and I married, and it was in California with my parents and Bill and DiVoran.

We stayed with Bill and DiVoran in their tiny little house, so it was cramped spaces, but sometimes that can be the most fun, right?

 

 

In any case, we drove from Albuquerque, New Mexico early that morning, and drove straight through to Inglewood, California. It was a long drive, but there were four drivers, so it wasn’t too bad. We drove in Fred’s car – that lovely, classic 1957 Chevy Bel Air.

 

It was a dream to drive and to ride in. And with the four of us in the car together – Mom, Dad, Fred and me – we had a great time together. I remember starting out that there was frost on the windows. It didn’t take long before the sunshine on the car melted the frost, even though it was so cold outside.

Because Bill and DiVoran’s house was small, DiVoran made the best use of the space, knowing we would really crowd the place. There was no room for a Christmas tree, so she made one out of a tinsel garland, tacked on one wall.

 

 

She placed ornaments on the “tree” and a star at the top. They had a credenza underneath it where we placed our Christmas gifts. It was quite unique and imaginative. She’s so creative, and it shows in the paintings she does, as well.

I remember them setting up a cot for Fred to sleep on.

 

Bill and DiVoran sitting on Fred’s cot

 

There was a couch that I suspect folded down to make a bed, where my parents slept.

 

 

I have absolutely NO memory of where I slept, but perhaps there was another cot somewhere in that room that was my spot for sleeping. Perhaps they put me in the kitchen? It was a one-bedroom little house, and Bill and DiVoran slept in their bed. It was quite cozy!

We had some plans for things to do while there. I know we went to Disneyland one day.

 

 

 

We went to Marineland.

 

 

To Knott’s Berry Farm.

 

We kept busy, and made the most of our trip.

When Christmas Day arrived, we had a great meal together. And it was made even better because DiVoran’s parents came and joined us at the table. My mom and dad ate from TV trays, but that didn’t lessen the fun. It was just a great time together.

It just goes to show that you don’t have to have a lot of space, or expensive tastes, to have a wonderful family time together. And that’s the key – time together. That’s what makes family. We are blessed.

 

People Do the Funniest Things

18 Mar

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

Have you ever just sat back and “people-watched?” You know – just watched people as they passed by you and noticed some of the things they were doing? I find it a fun and fascinating thing to do.

One of the first things I learned about my now-husband, Fred, is that he didn’t like mayonnaise – or mustard – or catsup – or anything with vinegar in it – or….well, you get the picture.

 

 

He didn’t like ANY of that stuff! Curious as to why, he told me that, when he and his siblings said something bad, instead of washing his mouth out with soap – she would put mustard on their tongues!!

 

 

Credit Google Search

 

Now, I like mustard, but that’s a bit too much! Consequently, none of the Wills siblings like those condiments! I have always wondered where she got that form of punishment. From her mother? Don’t know I’ve been told that, when I play the piano, I tuck my head down – until I have a double chin showing! Never knew that. I had to make a conscious effort NOT to do that!

My Dad had the “manly” habit of clearing his throat, then spitting the mucus out onto the ground. I’ve seen so many men and boys doing the same thing. But Daddy’s habit got himself into a fix one time. I’m going to copy what I wrote about him from a previous post (February 2, 2014 – Daddy):

Once, when Fred and I were visiting Albuquerque, Fred had gone out driving with Daddy. That evening, Fred related this story of the day, but could hardly get it out for all his giggling. They were driving along – Fred driving – and Daddy cleared his throat, turned his head, and spit. Unfortunately, he had forgotten that the window was still closed! Fred said Daddy cleaned off the window then turned his head back to Fred and sheepishly said, “that’s only the second time in my life I’ve done that.” Fred said he had to “bite his tongue” to keep from laughing out loud!

Fred and I always laugh when we remember that story. And we get laughs when we tell it to other people.

 

 

Fred’s Mother had one little quirk that I enjoyed. After she finished stirring a pan on the stove, or a pot of tea, she would hit the spoon on the edge of the bowl/pot/pitcher in the following pattern:

tap, tap, ta-tap, tap…..tap, tap.

For those of you old enough to remember, it is the sequence for “shave and a hair-cut…two bits.” I always thought that was cute. She was such a jewel. If you want to know her better, please see my post of October 2, 2012 – Kitty. I really loved her, and miss her still.

 

 

Our Grandson, Forrest, had the habit of whistling through his teeth – sort of “whispering” rather than a full whistle. Used to drive our daughter crazy! She said he’s pretty much outgrown it – until he gets around her!

 

 

So….what about you? What quirks do you have? Or someone near and dear to you? Or someone you work with? It might be fun to look at someone you know and find out what their quirks are. Or, your own. Enjoy!

 

 

A Tribute-Becky

11 Mar

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

 

In previous posts, I have mentioned that I enjoy singing. Please see my post of October 16, 2016 – It’s Music to My Ears for a little insight. I’ve been singing most of my life, it seems.

I actually don’t remember just when I met Becky and her sister, Billie Ann. We didn’t attend the same church, but were all Southern Baptists. Of course, Albuquerque was a large city, with many Baptist churches, so it was very possible that we met through some church function.

And I actually don’t remember when Billie Ann and Becky and I started our trio singing group, but we sang together in high school. Becky was about two years older than us, but was only one year ahead in school. She had polio as a child and that probably held her back. Here’s a picture of the three of us in my house, practicing our songs. Billie Ann is at the piano (she played for our group, as well as sang alto), and Becky is the one wearing the crutches.

 

 

Billie informed me that Becky died on March 4, 2018. My heart is breaking. While I haven’t kept up with Becky as much as with Billie through the years, she is still near to my heart.

It’s always hard to let someone you love go, but I always love to remember the good and fun things about them. For instance, I remember once when the three of us were going to sing a song over the P.A. system at our high school. Only problem was, there wasn’t a piano in the room, so we had to wing it. In the midst of the song, while we were waiting a few “beats” for the next phrase, Becky got tickled – and that got Billie and me tickled, and we couldn’t stop laughing. I’m sure they cut us off rather quickly!

And Becky, being only 4’7″ tall, couldn’t reach upper cabinets in her house, so she stored all her Tupperware in her oven. Once, however, she forgot to check the oven before she put the oven on to pre-heat – until she smelled something strange! She had melted all her Tupperware!

Becky had one of the sunniest personalities that I’ve ever known – especially for someone with her health issues. She was always laughing and joking. I’m sure she had her down days, but I never saw them.

She was a hero to me.

I miss her – as well as not being around Billie Ann. There are just some very special people that come into your life – and these two are some of my favorites.

I mentioned to Billie about my mother, and how, during the last year of her life they discovered that the bottom four vertebrae in her spine had disintegrated from osteoporosis and she was in great pain. When she died, I had a mental picture of her hiking up her skirts and RUNNING through the streets of heaven! I then suggested to Billie that Becky was now doing the same thing. Perhaps they were running races together?

I just thank the Lord for the privilege of having Becky in my life. She was a jewel, and I loved her.

Love never fails….these three remain: faith, hope and love.

But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:8, 13

 

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